Fumiko Enchi was born Fumiko Ueda in Tokyo in 1905. Her father was the distinguished philologist, Kazutoshi Ueda. Because of poor health, she was taught at home, where she learned French and Chinese. From her paternal grandmother, she got to know the Japanese classics. Though she had to abandon her university studies, she did attend lectures by the famous playwright Kaoru Osanai. Her first published work was a one act drama. She published further plays. After marrying the journalist Yoshimatsu Enchi, she started writing fiction where she had less success. Her early novels were not successful, though she did publish a serialisation of the Tale of the Genji in modern Japanese.
She had a mastectomy after contracting uterine cancer and then, in 1945, her home was destroyed in a bombing raid. However, after the war, her literary career took off and she had success with a series of novels, often dealing with female sexuality and psychology. Only three have been translated into English. She died in 1986.